Somalia's hope of using football to wash away some of their dreadful past and making it to a major football event came to a disappointing end after they suffered a crushing 5-0 defeat at the hands of Ethiopia on Wednesday, May 16 in the second leg of the 2014 World Cup qualifier.
Somalia's national football team, the Ocean Stars,had high hopes of making it to the next round of the qualifiers after the first leg played in Djibouti last weekend ended 0-0.
Ethiopia thus qualify on a 5-0 aggregate scoreline and joining the other Africa elite teams. Shemeles Bekele and Getaneh Kebede both scored a brace in the second-half after Omod Okwury gave them the lead in the fifth minute.
Somalia failed to match up the footballing prowess of the Ethiopian players, who dominated the ball throughout the game and powered through a porous Somali defence.
A crestfallen Abdirashid Oman, Technical Advisor of the Ocean Stars said "the way we played in Djibouti, we didn't play like that today. We tried to do something here, but we didn't get what we wanted from Addis,".
Ethiopia's head coach Sewnet Bishaw said Somalia's main disadvantage was the altitude, which Somali players are not accustomed to competing in. Addis Ababa stands at 2,400 metres above sea level. "Every team is affected by the altitude and this is our advantage," Sewnet told reporters after the match.
Ethiopia's national stadium was full of exuberant fans cheering excitedly for both teams, though Ethiopian supporters far outnumbered the Somalis in the stands.This is only the fourth time Somalia is reaching the qualifying stage in the team's 60-year history.
Ethiopia will be slugging it out in Group A with South Africa, Botswana and Central African Republic in the next stage of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
Ethiopia plays their first match in Group with Central African Republic in a yet to be named date.